Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir are selectively cutting several flights outside of China for the next three months due to weak demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
On 17 February, SIA switched its Singapore-Hong Kong-San Francisco service to a non-stop Singapore-San Francisco service, which will operate until 28 March.
It has also cut several other Singapore-Hong Kong flights, and this will last until the end of March.
The flight reductions to parts of Asia-Pacific will begin as early as the end of February, while reductions to Europe and the United States flights will begin in March. The month of May will see the most flight cancellations across all affected regions.
The cancellations affect SIA and SilkAir services to 17 Asian and Middle Eastern countries, including Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
SIA’s European flight reductions will cover five countries, while its US reductions will affect New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Other Asian carriers have also joined in reducing the number of flights around the region.
Thai Airways International says it is cutting some flights to South Korea and Singapore for February and March.
Air India has cancelled all flights to Hong Kong and Shanghai from mid-February until 28 March.
Taiwanese flag carrier China Airlines has cut some flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Rome and parts of Japan, into at least early March. Compatriot carrier EVA Air is doing the same for the rest of February, while postponing the launches of its Taipei-Milan and Taipei-Phuket services, which were meant to take place in February and April, respectively.
The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on 30 January, and the number of cases has since spiked to more than 71,000 globally.
In its 17 February update, the WHO says out of those 71,000 cases, nearly 2,200 were reported in the 24 hour period before the update. The sharply higher number was due to the change in reporting of cases to include clinically diagnosed cases in Hubei province. Previously, the WHO had only reported laboratory-confirmed cases.